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Eventually, these clusters develop into full-blown personalities, each with its own memory and characteristics.A person diagnosed with MPD can have as many as a hundred or as few as two separate personalities.Multiple personality disorder (MPD) is a chronic (recurring frequently) emotional illness.A person with MPD plays host to two or more personalities (called alters).Switching: Process by which an alternate personality reveals itself and controls behavior. Sometimes the most powerful alter serves as the gatekeeper and tells the weaker alters when they may reveal themselves. Most patients with MPD experience long periods during which their normal personality, called the main or core personality, remains in charge. Ninety-eight percent of people with MPD have some degree of amnesia when an alter surfaces.When the main personality takes charge once again, the time spent under control of an alter is completely lost to memory.Many times when a young child is severely abused, he or she becomes so detached from reality that what is happening may seem more like a movie or television show than real life.This self-hypnotic state, called disassociation, is a defense mechanism that protects the child from feeling overwhelmingly intense emotions.
Not all children who are severely and repeatedly abused develop multiple personality disorder.
Each alter has its own unique style of viewing and understanding the world and may have its own name.
These distinct personalities periodically control that person's behavior as if several people were alternately sharing the same body.
(About half of the recently reported cases have ten or fewer.) These different identities can resemble the normal personality of the person or they may take on that of a different age, sex, or race.
Each alter can have its own posture, set of gestures, and hair-style, as well as a distinct way of dressing and talking.